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Program facilitates hospital-in-the-home style care

Mater Health Services is delivering Queensland’s first range of ‘hospital-in-the-home’ services for paediatric patients.

Following a successful 12 month trial undertaken in 2008, in December 2009 Mater Children’s Hospital made permanent the DAART Paediatrics Program.

The program is modelled on the long established Domiciliary Allied Health Acute Care and Rehabilitation (DAART) Service for adult hospital patients, which provides home visits by health professionals to assess and manage the physical and psychosocial impact of a range of conditions including those associated with the ageing process, the young disabled, post acute and palliative care.

The DAART Paediatrics Program is delivered in the form of two services: ‘Hospital-in-the-Home’ and the ‘Post Acute Care Program’.

The ‘Hospital-in-the-Home’ service allows certain paediatric patients—for example, a child suffering from cystic fibrosis—to reduce their regular hospital stays by being offered care at home.

DAART Paediatric Program Manager Amanda Juric further explained.

“A young cystic fibrosis patient may need to undergo a two week assessment stay in hospital. With DAART, we can now reduce that stay to one week. In the second week the patient is visited each day at home by a paediatric nurse and physiotherapist (with access to other health services as required) and given the same monitoring and care he or she would have received in the ward,” she said.

The Post Acute Care Program allows for young patients to have a reduced hospital-based recovery period. Following assessment, these patients are allowed to return home with their families and receive ongoing recovery care in their home environment, via visits from paediatric nursing and allied health professionals.

Mater Director of Allied Health Anne Maree Buttner said both programs have a range of benefits from allowing young patients to be cared for sooner in the familiar family-environment of home and ensuring the least amount of disruption to family life, through to improving access to hospital for other patients.

“Both programs achieve an outcome of reduced bed days,” Ms Buttner explained.

“In 2009 together these programs saved a total of 1000 bed days. That results in a significant increase in hospital access for other paediatric patients,” she said.

Ms Juric said the feedback received from patients and families participating in the two programs had been very positive.

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Jodie Dugan—Director Domiciliary Allied Health Acute Care and Rehabilitation Team

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